By Rosie Silver on July 14, 2017 in
“Sweet dreams are made of cheese”… The soundtrack to my life in France!
If you’ve ever spent any time in France, you’ll know that cheese is a vital aspect of everyday life, (honestly, this is hardly an exaggeration). I was lucky enough to live in the south of France for ten years and still come back to visit whenever I can. Just a heads up: I love cheese, whether it’s a plain cheddar sandwich, parmesan on bresaola, or cheesecake (I’ll get to this later); I love it. A few weeks ago, I was invited to a “soirée fromages” at Le Mas Candille. With an offer of a cheese-themed dinner, I was never going to say no.
Le Mas Candille is located on the hill of the old village of Mougins and prides itself on working with local businesses and providing its guests with an authentic experience. The hotel has previously done similarly themed evenings, most notably a whiskey dinner with 15 different whiskies!
This time the Michelin starred ‘Le Candille’ restaurant, partnered with 365 Fromages from nearby Valbonne. The owner, Eric Gayraud, worked with starred chef David Chauvac, to prepare an amazing, cheese-inspired menu.
Here, Maître d’Hôtel, Sergey Ionin, presents the different cheeses and wines used in the menu:
The view from the main terrace alone takes your breath away, and that’s before sitting down to dinner. Our table was right in the windows, allowing us to marvel at the sunset as we sipped on the hotel’s custom-made champagne, cuvée Sur-Mesure Le Mas Candille, made in partnership with Domaine Duval Leroy (tip: definitely enjoy a glass before dinner: it’s just sweet enough and very refreshing).
HERE IS THE MENU FROM THE NIGHT AND THE WINES RECOMMENDED BY THE SOMMELIER:
White asparagus from Provence, goat’s cheese mornay sauce with parsley, thin slices of pancetta coppata Paired with a lovely glass of Côtes du Rhône “Blanc de Viognier”, Alain Jaume 2016
Veal tournedos, cheddar cheese and Guinness crust (so light and flavourful) with purple aubergine Paired with Bandol château Vannières 2001
Paired with a Pouilly fumé domaine de Maltaverne 2016 (my all-time favourite)
(The food coma set in around here)
Meet the man behind the cheese.
A few days after the dinner, I went over to Valbonne to have a quick chat with M. Gayraud and to thank him once again, for his part in the soirée.
What is your favourite cheese? – Hmm… I would definitely have to say Roquefort, no doubt about it.
How and why did you start this business? – It’s my passion. Five years ago I was working in a job I didn’t particularly like, and one day I decided to leave. It wasn’t for me.
What is the one cheese you recommend we try at least once in our lives? – Well, there’s definitely “le vezou,” which you had at dinner. There is also the “bleu de terre mignon,” which you definitely must try.
And finally, this is a question I’ve always wondered about it:
Why is cheese often paired with grapes and chutney? – *Laughs* Honestly, that’s mostly an Anglophone thing. If we ever do use them then it’s for fun and decoration, but really in France, we eat cheese by itself with bread, or at most, with some dried fruits.
You can imagine my shock, as I had been thinking that grapes were an essential part of cheese plates – oh how much I have yet to learn!
At the end of the night, my friend and I were in a total food coma. It took us about ten minutes to stand up to leave (regretfully).
The meal was amazing. It definitely was not your average cheese-tasting evening.
Each course had a different cheese and was so delicious.
Both Mr Gayraud and chef David Chauvac did an excellent job.
As my friend Delphine put it:
“There was no better place to enjoy the wonderful wine & cheese pairing by Mr. Gayraud! While it was a cheese night, the cheese in each course was subtle and was a good complement to the rest of the dish!”
Keep an eye out for more of Le Mas Candille’s themed soirées!
“Sweet dreams are made of cheese…!”